I so appreciate this community and each of you. I hope we can meet someday. If any of you are attending the ERCL Conference in Dallas next week please let me know. A group of women are getting together for lunch on Saturday after the conference is over and would love for you to be included.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Can I give you each a challenge? Would you go to your church leadership and ask if they have anything planned to address this problem during October, as 1 in 4 Christian women report being in a destructive marriage?
If they would like more information on the whole topic of how churches handle abuse, both marital and sexual, give them the link to the new video series, www.churchcares.com to watch as a staff. Just raising awareness can be a huge help for a woman whose church leadership may still be in the dark about this subject.
Also on Monday, October 7th I will be doing a free workshop on the topic of How Long Should You Keep Trying to Keep Your Marriage Together and How Will You Know If His Change is Real. For more information or to register click here
Today’s Question. I recently discovered that my husband has been not only viewing porn on the internet, but also “chatting” with multiple women. I even found e-mails where he refers to me as his “soon to be ex” and exchanged phone numbers, and talked about times to meet, etc.
When I confronted him, he swears that all of this is fantasy and that he has never done anything physical with these women. He says he is deeply sorry and will give this all up. But I don’t now what to think. How can I trust him again?
How will I know if he is really sorry or just sorry for the moment? He has been very emotionally unavailable to me in the past and verbally abusive at times. But now he’s being very attentive. I don’t know how to respond. Help!
Answer. First, let me tell you how sorry I am that you have experienced this in your marriage. Internet pornography as well as chatting with the opposite sex is a huge temptation for men (and women) these days.
It is perfectly normal now that you’ve discovered his secret life that you’re struggling to trust your husband. Once broken, trust in a relationship is difficult to rebuild and it takes time and effort. Your recent discovery isn’t the only problem in your marriage but it can be a wakeup call for your husband to work to change his ways.
I’m glad you’ve confronted him when you discovered the pornography and chatting. In order to invite a deeper change in your marriage, you might want to say something along these lines:
“I appreciate that you want to work on restoring our marriage. I can see that you are trying and now doing some of the things that I’ve always wanted you to do (mention some specific ways you see him trying to win you back). However, my trust in who you are and your honesty with me has been fractured and it will take some time for you to rebuild it.
Right now, I can’t believe what you tell me and I’m not sure you really care about me and my feelings. When I’ve told you before that your emotional distancing and angry words hurt me, you didn’t care enough to change them. Now you’ve disrespected me and dishonored our marriage vows by what you’ve been doing on the Internet. Being charming and buying me flowers is nice but it's not what I need from you right now.
I am willing to see if our marriage can be restored, but I am not willing to be disrespected and abused any longer. I am not willing to live with a man who connects with other women online, even in fantasy. It would help me if I saw you take your own steps to set personal boundaries on your Internet use, learn how to handle your temper and figure out why you’ve been emotionally unavailable to me all these years.”
Don’t tell him how do to that. Do not give him a counselor’s name or phone number to call. Don’t give him an ultimatum or a deadline. Simply state what you need or would like for you to feel safer and then watch and wait. It will be tempting to remind or nag but hold back. See what he does on his own. Jesus tells us to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). Your husband can start to rebuild your trust when he shows you he is willing to do these things and takes the initiative, time, and energy to actually do them.
As your husband does his part, your part (and battle) will be to learn to trust him again. Your truer enemy is not your spouse, but Satan, who wants to destroy you both. He will use every opportunity to taunt you with your husband’s sin. Don’t let him. In these moments, remind yourself of the positive things your husband is doing to earn back your trust and that you are fully loved and deeply valued by God.
Remember, honesty and accountability are the cornerstones for rebuilding trust, not perfection. Click To Tweet
However, if your husband does not make strong efforts in these areas, regaining marital trust is not possible.
Finally, consider attending a support group for wives whose husbands share similar problems. If you can’t locate one in your area, use the Internet to find one. Here are a few resources to get you started, Newlifepartners.org, PureIntimacy.org, or Faithfulandtrueministries.com. Please know many women share your struggle. You are not alone.
Friends, what shows you that your husband is serious about rebuilding your shattered trust, and what helps you to trust again?